The First Amendment guarantees more than the freedom to speak. It also protects the freedom not to speak—a right the U.S. Supreme Court just denied Elaine Huguenin.
For the photographer and her husband, this latest development was a crushing one, especially as Christian business owners continue to find themselves on the losing side of the clash between political correctness and the marketplace.
Unfortunately, the Huguenins, who turned down a job to take pictures of a lesbian commitment ceremony, aren’t the only victims of this suit. So are hundreds of other wedding vendors who had hoped the court would finally provide some clarity in the chaos their own June marriage ruling helped create. Instead, the justices ignored an opportunity to reaffirm the basic principle that the government can’t trample on fundamental rights of free speech and religion.
As a result, the New Mexico Supreme Court, the very one that punished the Huguenins for trying to living out their faith in the workplace, will have the final say. And what a say it was. In a ruling that stunned even liberals, the judges suggested that American family businesses like Elane Photography are “now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” It is, the court writes, “the price of citizenship.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jordan Lorence, who represented the husband-wife team, couldn’t believe his ears.
“Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy?” Jordan asked. “Of course not, and neither should the government force this photographer to promote a message that violates her conscience.”